BREAKING NEWS OHA reports 376 new cases, 7 deaths Full Story
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

LSU fraternity pledge's death leads to 4 indictments

Four suspects in the alleged hazing death of a Louisiana State University student were indicted on Thursday, accordin...

Posted: Mar 17, 2018 11:32 AM
Updated: Mar 17, 2018 11:32 AM

Four suspects in the alleged hazing death of a Louisiana State University student were indicted on Thursday, according to the East Baton Rouge District Attorney's Office.

A grand jury indicted Matthew Naquin, 20, on charges of negligent homicide in the death of Maxwell Gruver, District Attorney Hillar Moore said in a news release. Three other men -- Sean-Paul Gott, 21; Patrick Forde, 21; and Ryan Isto, 19 -- were indicted on hazing charges.

Gruver, who was pledging the Phi Delta Theta fraternity at LSU, died in September as a result of a hazing ritual, officials said.

An investigation by police indicated Gruver was forced to drink alcohol as part of the initiation rite. The coroner's office ruled Gruver's death was accidental and caused by "acute alcohol intoxication with aspiration." His blood alcohol level was 0.495% at the time of his death, the coroner said.

Police initially issued arrest warrants in October for 10 Phi Delta Theta members as part of the investigation into Gruver's death.

The grand jury heard evidence against five other suspects. In four of those cases the grand jury could not reach a consensus on whether to charge the suspects, and in a fifth case the jury declined to bring charges, Moore's statement said. His office previously decided not to pursue criminal charges against another suspect.

Evidence was also heard relating to LSU's Phi Delta Theta chapter and whether it had a criminal liability for hazing, but the grand jury could not come to a consensus that it had.

John McLindon, an attorney representing Naquin, said he and his client were "prepared to go to trial."

"No one forced Max Gruver to drink," McLindon said. "I'm prepared to show that my client is not guilty of negligent homicide."

CNN has also reached out to lawyers for Isto and Forde. It couldn't be determined Friday afternoon whether Gott was represented by an attorney.

In Louisiana, the maximum punishment for negligent homicide is five years and a $5,000 fine, according to state law. The maximum penalty for hazing is 30 days and a $100 fine.

Gruver was allegedly forced to drink

The night before he died, Gruver was called to the fraternity house to participate in "Bible Study," according to interviews conducted by LSU police. Fraternity members asked pledges questions about the fraternity, and if they answered incorrectly, pledges were told to "take a 'pull' from a bottle of alcohol," according to arrest warrants. Pledges were also asked to do "wall sits" while fraternity members walked across their knees.

Several interviews conducted by LSU police "indicated that the pledges were forced to drink in excess," according to the warrants. By midnight, Gruver was highly intoxicated and fraternity members laid him down on a couch in the fraternity house, according to witnesses interviewed by police. They checked on him periodically until about 3 a.m.

When members checked on Gruver around 9 a.m. the next day, his pulse was weak and they couldn't tell if he was breathing. That's when Gruver was taken to a hospital, where he later died, according to warrants.

As a result of Gruver's death, the Phi Delta Theta chapter was suspended by the school and the national fraternity, which opened its own investigation into the alleged hazing.

Gruver was one of several pledges who died in 2017, including Timothy Piazza at Penn State University, Andrew Coffey at Florida State University and Matthew Ellis at Texas State University.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 21010

Reported Deaths: 355
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah484994
Washington304725
Marion288370
Umatilla225128
Clackamas152340
Malheur76814
Deschutes59610
Lane5793
Jackson4612
Yamhill45013
Lincoln4149
Union3942
Jefferson3554
Morrow3543
Polk31312
Linn27710
Klamath2012
Wasco1893
Hood River1840
Benton1696
Douglas1501
Josephine1142
Columbia940
Coos910
Clatsop850
Crook471
Baker380
Tillamook340
Lake320
Wallowa191
Sherman160
Curry150
Harney100
Gilliam40
Grant40
Unassigned00
Wheeler00
Eugene
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 78°
Corvallis
Clear
76° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 76°
Roseburg
Clear
78° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 78°
North Bend
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 64°
KEZI Radar
KEZI Temperatures
KEZI Planner

LATEST FORECAST

Community Events